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Education Requirements for a CAT Scan Technologist

Majors Overview January 7, 2013

CAT scan technologists who are known as radiologic or CT technologists, provide diagnostic images of the interior of the human body using computerized tomography (CT or CAT) scanners. Other processes such as fluoroscopes and radiographs are also performed by CAT technologists. As ionizing radiation is used in CAT scans, professionals who seek to pursue careers in this medical imaging specialization will need to satisfy several educational and licensure norms.

Training and Education Requirements

State licensing norms necessitate the completion of an accredited radiology course by these professionals before they are allowed to perform CT procedures professionally. Nearly six hundred radiology courses in the country have been accredited by the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT) (www.jrcert.org). While radiography courses ranging from certificate to bachelor degree programs are offered, an associate degree is the minimum accepted qualification from CT technologists. Coursework in an associate degree program is typically a combination of classroom lectures and hands on experience; the program usually spans two-year duration. Students are taught subjects such as physiology, anatomy, radiation protection, imaging principles. When they receive training in clinical settings, students learn how to position patients properly apart from the maintenance of radiology equipment and patient records.

Certification Requirements

CAT scan technologists are required by various employers and some states to satisfy certification norms after they complete their education in the field. The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) awards such certification. An advanced post-primary certification is awarded by the ARRT, apart from primary certification in radiography (source: www.arrt.org).

A technologist’s knowledge and skills in various radiological areas are tested for primary certification; these areas include radiation safety, equipment operation and patient care. Verifiable clinical experience in the performance of specific CT processes, in addition to primary certification, is required for a technologist to earn post-primary certification in computed tomography. After they receive post-primary certification, these professionals must necessarily maintain records of tomography procedures performed over the next twenty-four months. Continuing education in radiology is required for maintaining registration with the ARRT, which expects them to adhere to its ethical and professional standards.

Licensing Requirements

There are licensing norms in place in a majority of states due to the potential risks related to radioactive materials used by CAT scan technologists. They are also required in some states to earn ARRT radiography certification and complete a specific number of continuing education hours every year.

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